CA few days ago, hristian Seifert made an interesting observation. He has “the impression that Germany has lost its clearly leading role at the beginning,” said the outgoing managing director of the German Football League (DFL) with regard to the massive audience restrictions in the Bundesliga, which from the second half of the season resulted in a complete ban on the audience be expanded. Football is no longer given the much-cited and often criticized “special role”; the Bundesliga is treated like any other major event.
Seifert is right when he reminds us that the concepts of the past few months have worked well and that Bundesliga football in front of spectators could theoretically also be possible with the new virus variant Omikron without becoming a pandemic driver. But the images from the stadiums of singing and shouting crowds do not have a good effect on a nation that has to withdraw once again for a joint effort.
Football is now facing the third phase of total desolation, with economic as well as sporting consequences. The expected losses will already have an impact on the winter transfer market, which opens on January 1st. Home strong clubs such as Bochum, Cologne, Dortmund or FC St. Pauli, for whom the energies of the audience were of elementary importance according to various participants in the first half of the season, are also threatened with a decisive disadvantage in terms of sport.
Football only on TV
As sensible as the ban on the public may seem, it comes as a shock to football. The joy that hundreds of thousands of people had in late summer and autumn after a year and a half of abstinence from the stadium experience that was possible again belongs to a bygone phase of this damn pandemic.
The sad thing is that the path to finally overcoming the recurring restrictions is still in deep darkness after almost two years. The protagonists of public sport have to be prepared to compete again exclusively for themselves and the TV viewers by the summer.
The Bundesliga is facing a phase of sadness that seems even more threatening than the months of the second half of the previous season, which were played completely in empty stadiums. There are now vaccinations and tests, most people willingly wear masks, and yet ghost games seem inevitable. If the delta wave – as announced by experts – is soon to be replaced by an omicron wall, the prospects will be even more unclear than a year ago, when the approval of the first vaccines raised hope.